According to Euromonitor International, inbound visitor numbers for the Gulf state are expected to reach 1.6 million by 2014, up from just under one million in 2009. Hotel occupancy rates also rose in the third quarter of 2011, despite a surge of new openings last year, reflecting increasing demand and interest in tourism in the Gulf state as Qatar prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Riding on this growth, Qatar National Hotels Company (QNH) will chart out details of its strategic expansion programme to the regional and international tourism industry at the forthcoming Arabian Travel Market 2012.
“We are targeting business travellers through our own Merweb group of hotels,” said His Excellency Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, Chairman, Qatar National Hotels Company. “QNH plays a vital role in positioning Qatar as a global hospitality player, as part of the government’s far-reaching National Vision 2030 economic development and diversification programme,” he added.
According to the Qatar Tourism Authority, more than 6,000 hotel rooms, with 25 hotels and 10 hotel apartments, opened up in the market in 2011, with average room occupancy rates continuing their upward trend for the period July to September 2011; reaching 48%, representing a 4% increase on 2010.
QNH has already added to its portfolio in 2012 with its acquisition of two iconic Raffles properties in Singapore and Paris – the iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore and the famous Le Royal Monceau – Raffles, Paris in the heart of the French capital. “Our focus is to use our investment wealth to continue on the path of success that we have achieved in recent years through our thriving portfolio of Qatar-based hotels, and growing portfolio of international properties, and to invest today for future generations,” remarked Sheikh Nawaf.
In addition to the construction of 12 new football stadiums, Qatar is building 77 new hotels and 42 hotel apartments ahead of the 2022 tournament. Over US$100 billion worth of infrastructure is also due to be completed, including the new US$11 billion Doha International Airport, the US$6 billion Doha port project and a US$25 billion metro and railway system.